How we change what others think, feel, believe and do
Similarity vs. Difference preferences
If you pointed at two cars and asked people what they saw, you would very likely get different answers, depending on whether they looked first for how the cars were similar or different.
Shown two cars, people with a preference for similarity would say that they
If shown the same cars, other people will immediately notice how they are
different. Even if the cars are apparently identical, they will spot scratches,
wheel angle and so on.
Difference people are easily bored when they are faced with routine and structure. They will happily design a detailed process for other people, but will not use it themselves.
Few of us who saw the two cars would see only 'cars' and in fact the majority of the population will say they are 'cars' first and then start to point out the differences.
Similarity-then-difference people tend to see the world top-down, beginning at the outside and then working their way into the detail.
In work, they like a steady job, but with interest and variation in it.
The final viewpoint is to see the differences between the cars and then point out that they are, of course, two cars.
These people will see the world bottom-up, starting with the detail and building up to the big picture.
They primarily seek variation in what they do, but also appreciate a moderate amount of stability. They will follow processes they are given only if these make sense and they can understand how they work.
Find out what the people need and then play to these.
Give order and repetition to those who prefer similarity.
Never do the same thing twice with those who prefer difference. Be curious and playful with them. Show them new and different things.
For Difference-first people, start with an explanation then ask or tell.
For Similarity-first people, tell first, then explain.